Finality and Marriage by Margaret Monahan Hogan

By Margaret Monahan Hogan

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It is necessary therefore that among the ends of matrimony there be determined the order, according to which the other finis operis be subordinated to the principal end, which determines the specific nature of matrimony. The primary and principle, one and indivisible finis operis of matrimony which uniquely specifies its nature is the procreation and education of the offspring (Pius XII 1944 [36], 185). This affirmation of the essential nature of marriage, the specification of ends, and the subordination of all ends to the procreative end is subsequently reasserted in the presence of the challenge to its validity found in the claim that the procreative and personalist ends of marriage are equal.

CONSEQUENCES FOR REPRODUCTIVE FINALITY From within the context of Casti connubii , a context whose ethical structure is defined by the laws of God and the natural law, all actions are forbidden which oppose the law of God and all actions are forbidden which oppose the precepts of natural law. , 56). Moderation of the reproductive finality within marriage must be accomplished within these proscriptions. First, in regard to the accomplishment of the reproductive finality, the encyclical, in the presence of the limited reproductive technology in its horizon, addresses, not the question of artificial insemination, but the question of intercourse outside of marriage in order to realize the good of children.

The operant definition of marriage continues to be that of a procreative institution. There are, however, occasional references to marriage as a special kind of human relationship. Nonetheless, problems of conception limitation are resolved by reference to marriage as a procreative institution rather than a conjugal union. In regard to the avoidance of the reproductive finality, Pius XII continues the assessment of the acceptability of the practice of periodic continence. This acceptance means that the primary end of marriage can be intentionally excluded in conjugal intercourse.

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